• Asis Panda

The Best Disposable Cup Design ☕

Updated: Nov 20, 2019


Coffee cups with a sleeve which are purportedly used by millions every day to transport hot piping goodness (subjective) while one is on-the-go have a major design flaw!

They do little to insulate the heat emanating from the coffee inside the cup. They do provide sleeves and proudly claim to save the world by using a minimal amount of recycled paper, however, they don’t do so well in insulating the heat. Try it yourself (if you haven’t), take a 10min walk holding a freshly ordered to-go brewed coffee at a Starbucks.

But this is not the case with all the cups, so far, one coffee company stands out for its paper cup design that both insulates the heat and doesn’t even require a sleeve, thereby solving two problems at once, that is, insulate the heat and saving the world from use of more paper. Who are they? A popular European coffee chain called Costa Coffee. Here is their cup.





See the difference? You don’t need a sleeve, the ribbed cardboard cup that although uses slightly more paper for the same size of a Starbuck's cup it delivers better insulation and a great rugged grip for the same if you are on-the-go. Although the ribbed coffee cups do the job really well there is a certain mystery as to where they came from, do they actually contain more paper, who designed them and most importantly why is it most popular in Europe and Asia than in North America!

…there is a certain mystery as to where they came from, do they actually contain more paper, who designed them and most importantly why is it most popular in Europe and Asia than in North America…

A quick google search on “ribbed coffee cup” will surprise you as the result list has no information, wiki or history of any sort about them, yet there are tons of suppliers for the same in the search result. A little more digging spurt out this, a To-Go coffee lover’s ecstasy moment.


A TLDR History of Coffee Cups

Early 20th century, people drank water from communal cups which were shared. World war I, Americans invented the disposable cup in the form of paper bags for drinking water.1930, people started drinking hot beverages from paper “cups” with “handles.” 1960, the golden age of paper cups as four things happened: the foam cup, the Anthora cup, the tearable lid, and 7-Eleven. But, 1960 also gave rise to Polystyrene cups. Anthora cups became (👆the cup above) wildly popular, people started noticing aesthetics of the disposable cups. Also, in 1967, coffee lid design was patented as Americans increasingly drank coffee on-the-go.

In 1990, Java jacket was invented which was adopted by Starbucks and has been a hit ever since.


Bottomline

However, the ribbed coffee cups are way more effective at being ergonomic and insulating the brewed coffee’s heat, there seems to be a geosocial hurdle as to why they haven’t taken off in the USA. The mystery prevails and till then we’re survived by the java jacket while sipping the goodness that is coffee ☕.


Here's a further fun read by The Outline.